Wednesday 10th February, 2021

Dear friends,

2021 brings with it a sense of enthusiasm and optimism that young musicians from around the country will once more be able to come together.

As many of you know, January is typically a very busy time of year for AYO. 2021 marks the first time since 1951 that the annual National Music Camp has not taken place over the summer holidays. I must admit that I missed starting the year in the usual way, immersed in the energy of Camp, but I look forward with great anticipation to the commencement of this year’s programs in April, where over 150 young musicians will gather for the first of two National Music Camps.

The Autumn Music Camp will see two symphony orchestras led by conductors Fabian Russell and Umberto Clerici, and Orchestral Management and Sound Production students working under the guidance of leading industry experts. In the lead up to the program all participants will commence their preparation online with an excellent team of tutors, giving them the chance to arrive well prepared and familiar with the many faces and personalities they will meet at Camp.

This year is planned to be one of new opportunity for young musicians who crave the chance to meet other like-minded individuals and make great music together. Unfortunately, the impact of travel and gathering restrictions in 2020 meant that a significant number of young people missed out on this chance last year, and future plans are made under a cloud of uncertainty. Our 2021 programs have been designed to ensure as many participants as possible can play music, and learn from great teachers and each other in an environment that minimises the risks to health and wellbeing.

The immense support of our community was evident in 2020 as we faced significant challenges. Thank you to everyone who helped to ensure we survived and gave us the confidence to try new directions in 2021. The response to our request for more scholarship funds has been wonderful, and as a result we have been able to increase the amount of financial assistance available to participants who would otherwise be unable to take up their position in AYO. I would like to make a special note of thanks to our major supporter, Naomi Milgrom AC, who significantly increased her support of AYO during 2020. Not only did this generosity help us to survive these challenging times, but it also inspired us to create innovative opportunities to nurture young musicians.

I thank you once again for your continued support and patience over the past year, and I look forward to seeing many of you throughout 2021 as our young musicians begin to make music together once more.

With best wishes,


Colin Cornish
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Youth Orchestra